The Battenberg cake is extremely popular in the united kingdom, it is a checkerboard style cake with a wrap of chocolate glaze. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar then beat on high speed with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. then the flour and fold to combine. Divide batter into 2 equal portions. Spread one portion into one side of prepared pan.
To the remaining portion of batter, add cocoa powder, folding to combine then spread batter into the remaining side of prepared pan. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Turn out cakes onto a cutting surface and wrap securely in plastic wrap, and let stand for at least 8 hours so that cake settles and will be easier to work with.
Unwrap the cakes, and place on a cutting board then using a long, serrated knife, cut cakes lengthwise into 2 equal pieces, approximately 11½ x 1¾ inches. Trim uneven edges, making sure that all sections are equal in size. In a small saucepan, heat apricot jam over low heat, stirring to loosen. Using a pastry brush, coat tops of both chocolate sections with melted jam. Stack a vanilla section on top of each chocolate section and flip one stack so that chocolate section is on top then brush long side of one stack with melted jam.
Knead and roll out fondant to a rectangle, according to package directions. Brush top of cake stacks with melted jam then place cake stack, jam side down, in centre of fondant sheet. Brush top and remaining sides of cake stack with jam. Wrap with fondant, pressing and smoothing fondant so that it adheres to cake.
Using kitchen shears, trim long edge of fondant, letting ends overlap slightly. Gently roll cake over so the seam is on the bottom then fold and tuck in ends of fondant to keep cake moist. Using a straight edge such as a plastic ruler, press down on fondant every ½ inch or so to create a diamond pattern.
Place cake on a cutting board, and wrap securely, making sure plastic is in contact with fondant to prevent it from drying out. Just before serving, unwrap cake. Using a long, serrated knife, trim ends, and cut cake into ½-inch slices, using a gentle sawing motion.
For the cake;
- 350g unsalted butter softened
- 350g caster sugar
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
- 285g self-raising flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 40g ground almonds
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
For the decoration;
- 454g marzipan
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
- 175g raspberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease a loose-bottomed 8in/20cm square cake tin.
- Cut a long piece of foil-lined greaseproof paper that is the same width as the tin and make an 8in/20cm division in the centre. This will allow the two sponges to be cooked at the same time.
- Beat together the butter and sugar with a handheld electric mixer for 5 minutes until very pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then carefully fold through the milk and flour.
- Put half the batter into another bowl. Fold the cocoa powder through one of these halves and the ground almonds and vanilla through the other half, mixing well until completely combined.
- Pour these into the prepared cake tin, smooth the tops and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool. Once cool, place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to firm up before assembling.
- Once the cakes are cold, trim the tops of the cakes using a sharp serrated knife so they are level and flat. Place one cake on top of the other and trim so they’re both the same size. Cut the sponges in half lengthways.
- Place the marzipan in a bowl and mix with the cocoa powder until evenly mixed. Roll the marzipan out to 40 x 20cm.
- Place the raspberry jam in a small saucepan and gently heat until loosened.
- Brush the long side of one of the sponges with jam and sandwich together with a sponge of the contrasting colour on top of the marzipan, with the short ends facing the shorter sides.
- Do the same with the other two sponges. Trim the edges of the marzipan so that it lines up with the exposed ends, then roll up tightly and roll over so the sealed side is underneath and the top and sides are smooth.